Radical Doula Profiles: Larissa Crownover

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Email me at radicaldoulaATgmailDOTcom.

Larissa CrownoverLarissa Crownover lives in Portland, OR, and works as a birth doula and childcare professional. You can learn more about Larissa’s services or contact her through her business page (http://www.facebook.com/GrowingFamilyCare)

What inspired you to become a doula?

I originally pursued my doula training because a close friend asked me to be with her during her son’s birth; I fell in love with learning as much as I could about this role.  The more I read about being a doula and attended births, the more I was sure that this career path was for me.  I have always been interested in women’s health, and birth in particular.  As a doula, I can have a tangible role in the betterment of the public health system for women in their “birth year”.  I enjoy offering empowerment, support, and education.

I believe that the role of a doula is to be present for the woman and her support persons, encouraging whatever environment and experience the mother desires.  I have faith in every woman’s ability to make the best decisions for herself and her family, given the information and support that she has.  The families I work with continue to inspire me and push me to learn more about our community’s needs for maternal health support.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?

I identify with being a radical doula because of my belief that women are fully capable of making their own choices when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be a popularly held opinion.

I also stand out from others offering doula services because I work with a very diverse clientele and prefer serving in high-risk or low-income communities, in order to reach my goal of reducing maternal health disparities between groups. With my educational background in intercultural communication and my ability to speak Spanish, I’ve become known as “THE bilingual doula”. Considering Portland’s large and growing Spanish-speaking population, I strongly hope that I will not always be one of very few doulas that comfortably communicates with and supports these families.

If you could change one thing about birth, what would it be?

Simply put, I want to empower women to make informed choices about their own health. Our country has created a culture of fear surrounding childbirth and has routinely disempowered women by making them feel they have no control over the process and outcome of their pregnancies. Education and support give each woman the power to seek out the birth experience that will work for her.

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